Don’t be fooled by the photos. Don’t for a second think long-term travel is easy breezy perfection. I say this to do all of us a favor and debunk any false myth we are living perfect lives. Our Instagram page is a highlight reel. Our blogs are 1% of the whole story. Our smiles are real and sometimes they’re also 100% fake.
A Facebook friend recently talked about her very real battle with postpartum depression in order to be honest and help others – especially those struggling with a similar experience. I found her brutal honestly so profoundly refreshing. I was lumped right in there with others thinking she made motherhood look “easy.”
Her post got me thinking about our journey abroad and I realized I hadn’t talked about what hasn’t been easy along the way, so here goes… Haters delight!
Wait! Before I go there… let me be very clear… I am overwhelmingly grateful for this adventurous, once in a lifetime journey, my travel companions (family), and every opportunity afforded to us: countless airbnbs, taxi rides, airport layovers, my telecommuter’s salary and everything in between.
We’re on a budget!
I have a brother who loves to joke about how we won $1.9 million dollars in the CA. lottery and I still won’t loan him $20 bucks. I wish the lottery part was actually true. It’s not, and therefore, we have to adhere to a pretty tight travel budget and some months feel tighter than others.
One step further, I am the kind of mom that easily stresses about money. I do my darndest to hide the stress but my husband fishes it out… every. single. time. I suck at hiding it. I am a worrier by upbringing and battle that on the daily. This is a truth that may not be apparent in the pretty instagram photos of steak and wine. It’s our reality. We aren’t millionaires traveling the world. We are regular people with incomes and savings that afforded us an experience unlike any other especially when we can responsibly and patiently budget for it! What’s even more real is that anyone can travel the world with a lot of planning, disciplined goal setting, and a whole lot of courage!
Marriage and Electronics
Above all else I thought two things before our journey began. Somehow I thought usual marriage headaches and spats would go away and that our kids would spend a lot less time on electronics being out in the world as tiny cultured travelers.
Travel doesn’t mean my husband’s quirks stop getting on my nerves. No matter what county we’re in, he still talks with his mouth full, is a terrible listener when I begin to vent, and he forgets about date night commitments more often than not. I can live with all of that, of course, especially if I am living all over Latin America and the Caribbean.
He’s one amazing partner that loves me so profoundly, so proudly, and so passionately. He’ll probably never tackle travel logistics without me forcing it on him, but he’ll go on this journey with me and he’ll find a way, at all costs, to make our dreams come true. Even if that means we’ll disagree and bicker along the way as we always have. Truth be told, we will forever get on each other’s nerves. Now, we just have international travel spats to tell our grandkids about.
Back to electronics… My husband and I planned this trip foolishly thinking we’d live without WiFi and iPads. My goodness did we really think we’d be living in remote jungle huts across barren, underdeveloped lands? Truthfully, our kids like many others constantly want to use their gadgets, and more often than not, they’re being allowed to do so. This isn’t something we are necessarily proud of, but it’s the truth. I am writing this mid-flight and as I look around all three of our kids are buried in devices.
Our kids love their iPads, iPods and Smart TVs. They have had plenty of access along the way and our laxness around usage has been chalked up to letting them bask in all this free time travel brings. God help us when they’re back in traditional school and recess doesn’t involve game apps and Netflix!
The bottom line is that travel is life and no path in life is the perfect path. We struggle with little things as we do with the big scary ones even as we visit the most beautiful world wonders on earth. In the end, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Our travel journey began as a wild dream. It turned into a very real goal. And one day it became our lives. And I am truly in love with this life, warts and all!